StartupDigest Acquired by Startup Weekend

Announced earlier today, StarupDigest, a curated email newsletter of local events and activities, has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Startup Weekend.  StartupDigest’s editorial director Jessica Ford and co-founder Brendan McManus have joined Startup Weekend, while co-founder Chris McCann and CTO Chris Burnor will remain on as StartupDigest curators, while building out a new product called GroupTie.

Based out of Seattle, WA, Startup Weekend is startup competition held in more than 100 countries across the world that immerses entrepreneurs in a process to go from idea-to-product in 54 hours.

“This was a really natural acquisition,” says Marc Nager, co-founder and CEO at Startup Weekend. “We’ve been good friends with the people at StartupDigest for a while.  Many of them are Startup Weekend organizers already.  The communities are really tight.”

The acquisition will have little-to-no effect on StarupDigest’s newsletter.  Startup Weekend’s CMO, Joey Pomerenke, tells Tech Cocktail, “The service will see no change…Our main focus right now is scaling the digest and providing the best events and resources for startup communities around the world.”

So why the acquisition? According to Nager, Startup Weekend is looking for ways to add value outside of their events. “For entrepreneurs asking themselves ‘What else can I do after Startup Weekend?  How do I stay engaged in my community?’  Most cities have between two and four Startup Weekends per year, we want to fill the gaps.”

In part with the acquisition, StartupDigest will be transitioning to a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.  This parallels Startup Weekend’s history as it began as a for-profit organization in 2007, and was turned into a non-profit in 2009 when Nager and Clint Nelsen took full ownership. “The business model just made more sense as a non-profit; it’s much easier to scale into new cities,” says Nager.  “StartupDigest has done a great job as a for-profit organization, but we believe there’s much more room for growth now as a not-for-profit.”

You may also notice a common thread beneath both of these organizations’ logos, “powered by the Kauffman foundation”.  According to Nager, the foundation only played a very small, indirect part in this move, “I met Chris [McCann] when we were attending a Kauffman event, otherwise Kauffman played no role in this acquisition.”

You can learn more about Startup Weekend from our coverage of their event in Silicon Valley earlier this year.  

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.
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